On behalf of Blühendes Österreich, a charitable foundation of REWE International AG and the environmental NGO GLOBAL 2000, butterfly expert Peter Huemer published a report on the dramatic state of butterflies in May 2016. In Europe, their number had halved since 1990 and over 50% of Austria’s butterflies are critically threatened by extinction, according to the Red List. The habitats of butterflies are not only hugely restricted by increasing agriculture, advancing urban sprawl and in general by the massive loss of species-rich meadows of flowers, but their disappearance, which has been largely unnoticed by the general public, also indicates to experts a clear index of a tilt in the ecosystem overall.
The Blühendes Österreich foundation and the GLOBAL 2000 environmental protection organisation are calling for the first public butterfly count in Austria with the “Schmetterlinge” (meaning “butterfly” in German) app.
Whether you have a garden or visit parks, are a farmer or live in the countryside, love hiking and walking or simply enjoy nature and like butterflies, everyone in Austria can contribute to the survey of its butterfly population. The app has around 160 types of butterfly and allows you to enter your butterfly sighting in just a few clicks and without any complicated technical applications. Using an integrated photo function, you can upload photos to a gallery in seconds and make them accessible to the community.
Users can contribute to building the largest gallery of butterflies in Austria with their sightings and photos. Less than a second after taking a photo and recording a sighting, the data is put online in a gallery and can be shared and discussed with the butterfly community. The gallery can be viewed in a version for desktops or smartphones. The enthusiasm, effort and commitment of every user will be made clear to see. Making the users’ work visible is extremely important to Blühendes Österreich and GLOBAL 2000.
All butterfly enthusiasts are invited to help the app users with questions about identification or sightings. Blühendes Österreich and GLOBAL 2000 want to work with Austria’s butterfly fans to put together an active and communicative forum about butterflies. With smartphones being a constant companion, they provide a direct and easy connection to the community.
By using the app and recording sightings, each individual user is making a contribution to a valuable record of Austria’s butterfly population. Every year, Blühendes Österreich and GLOBAL 2000 collaborate to assess the sightings and data and publish a report.
Known experts Dr Helmut Höttinger, Dr Peter Huemer and Thomas Holzer provide scientific assistance and advice. Dr Huemer is also on the advisory committee of the Blühendes Österreich foundation.